Life Lessons Through Football

AF Tigers Camp 13Aug

In my post about Undefeated, I talked about how our coaches speak truth into the lives of the young men on the team, beyond the context of football. Later, it hit me that I didn’t give any examples of what I’ve seen.

Here are just a few examples, in the context of being trustworthy, being married, and being a responsible parent.

When Guys Were Late Showing Up to Practice

Coach Ford was talking to the players about being late to practice. He told them,

“It’s not just about football. This is about life. What would it be like if your dad or mom showed up 30 minutes late every day to work. They would be fired.

You see, this is what it means to be a man, to take care of your responsibility, to do what needs to be done, because your family is counting on you. When my little girl flips the light switch on and off, she expects it to turn on. And it will, because I’m going to provide for her.”

On Talking about Being Committed

This is what he told the team after one practice:

“You have to be committed. Completely committed. Commitment can’t be a halfway thing. It’s like my marriage. I’m completely committed to my wife. That means I can’t have 6 girlfriends on the side. The same with this team. You can’t be 99% committed. Either you are or you aren’t.”

On Parenthood

A few of us were sitting around in the coaches’ office after practice one day. A player wandered in, and this conversation occurred:

Assistant Coach:  “How old is your baby?”

Football Player:  “About a year.”

AC:  “You keep him on the weekends?”

FP:  “Well, we really don’t know if it’s mine.”

AC:  “You gonna’ find out?”

FP:  “Yeah.”

AC:  “And if it’s yours, you gotta’ man up and take care of him.”

I’m not sure I would have liked to coach with any other staff besides the men that I have the pleasure of working alongside. They get where these kids are coming from (much more than I do), and they care about them.

They are helping me see that coaching football isn’t just about teaching the sport. It’s a chance to teach about life.

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2 responses to “Life Lessons Through Football”

  1. Krista says :

    I’m a huge proponent of sports in the life of kids…unfortunately the behavior of middle and upper class American parents can actually detract from the benefits and life lessons kids can learn, but my life experience–lower to middle class with a dysfunctional family–my sport is what kept me sane quite frankly, through high school. And I’m a girl!

    As an adult I also think some kind of sports for girls is tremendously helpful too in learning what it means to be physically strong and capable and how to work at something worthwhile. From what I understand though, the choices of sport for girls in Allendale is more limited. But I think what the coaches are doing is just unbelievable and I pray they are blessed and full of the Spirit in all they do.

    • joeyespinosa says :

      I didn’t come at this post from the perspective of middle & upper class parents, but I think you are right.

      What a great story you have! Of course, I see it from the guy’s perspective; honestly, I didn’t know it could be just as important for young ladies. Thanks for your insight.

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